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AGGRESSION ON AFGHANISTAN      429
fortunate minister was strangled. He was succeeded by
Haji Mirza Aghasi, who had been tutor to the Shah and
who was both ignorant and fanatical, his attitude towards
all foreigners being one of profound suspicion.
The Afghan Policy of Mohamed Shah.—The death of
Path Ali Shah, who had been friendly to Great Britain,
and the accession of Mohamed Shah, who was almost
entirely under Russian influence, was disadvantageous
to British policy, as was speedily proved.
No sooner was the new Shah firmly established on
the throne than he organized a large force for a second
Afghan campaign. Kamran Mirza had failed to pay
tribute, had not destroyed the fortifications of Ghorian,
and had added to his offences by the execution of some
Persians. Beyond the question of Herat lay that of
Sistan, which Persia coveted "and claimed as one of her
provinces, and its annexation at this period by Kamran
Mirza was an additional affront. The British position
was diplomatically very;rweak, as it had been agreed
in the Definitive Treaty that Great Britain should not
interfere in case of war between Persia and Afghanistan.
Nevertheless, since the extension of Persian sovereignty
would involve the posting of Russian agents nearer India,
the British Envoy used all his influence to suspend the
expedition.
The Rise of Dost Mohamed.—After the final expulsion
of Mahmud from Kabul, Mohamed Azim, a brother of
Fatteh Khan, governed as the Vizier of a puppet Sadozai
prince ; but after his death his brother, Dost Mohamed,
the son of a Kizilbash woman of low origin, gradually
proved himself the strongest member of the family. As
is almost invariably the case in Afghanistan, his brothers
were his most bitter enemies, especially Sultan Mohamed,,
who, after failing to seize Kabul, held Peshawar as a
province of the Sikh kingdom. In spite of many
vicissitudes of fortune, Dost Mohamed had by the year
1826 obtained undisputed possession of Kabul, and
during the next eight years he ruled in comparative peace,
of which he took the fullest advantage not only for
strengthening his position but also for improving his,